The purpose of this study was to examine changes in the facial expression of emotion across the adult life span. Two positive and two negative emotional expressions were posed by 30 young (21 to 39 years), 30 middle-aged (40 to 59 years), and 30 older (60 to 81 years) healthy, right-handed women. Photographs of the four emotional expressions were rated by independent judges for intensity, accuracy, and confidence. Special features of this study were the use of a neutral face as a nonemotional control, as well as careful cognitive and affective screening procedures for posers and judges. Overall, the expressions of older posers were rated as significantly less accurate and with significantly less confidence than those of younger posers. Although the neutral faces of older posers were rated as significantly more intense than those of younger posers, there were no significant age-related intensity differences for positive and negative emotions. The results are discussed in terms of theoretical models of aging.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology